I Am a Plunger

About 10 years ago, I had 3 websites that I developed and kept up to date: Educational Links for Teachers, Poetry Pages for Teachers, and a Classroom website.  All of these have been taken off the net, unfortunately.  Not sure why I took them down, but I did.  I’m not even sure how I would go about putting them back up, as they are now stored on those old floppy disks.  Hmmmmmm….   I digress.

While I have always been interested in technology and what it has to offer, I have just recently ventured back into this world again (besides Facebook, flickr, email, and my online parenting network group that is).

After spending the last 7 months or so on maternity leave, after having our 3rd child in December, I am craving to learn.  To learn professionally.  So, on July 8th, 2011, I started my blog to document my own learning.  At the same time, I started exploring Twitter.  Not sure why, but I am so glad I did (as I discuss in my previous blog post).  In this time, I have also

  • explored many different blogs – most by wonderful educators. I have many blogs bookmarked and many of these blogs have wonderful blog posts just waiting for me to read.
  • downloaded numerous articles amazing educators shared on Twitter.  Many I have read, but still some waiting for my attention.
  • set up Tweetdeck, which has helped me to organize and not become so overwhelmed  by all things Twitter.
  • started my Diigo account where I can house all my links, articles, and such. I have even used it to highlight a few articles I found online.  What a great tool!
  • explored Pinterest – what fun!  This is a great tool, where you can pin things you like  to virtual bulletin boards.  You can search through pinterest to find what others have pinned to their boards.  This is a great tool for educators to find ideas and more wonderful blogs out there.
  • shared what I have learned with other educators I know.
  • All the while, I’ve been trying to keep up with my 365 Project (which, while I have continued to take photos each and every day, I have not downloaded them from my camera for the past 5 days or  so). I need to get on that.

I have so much more I want to do, including (but not limited to) :

  • Update my blog and add to it.
  • Explore Prezi – looks fun! Thanks to The Young Principal, Trevor Collazo  for introducing it to me.
  • Start a googledocs page where I can store my own work that I may want to share with others.
  • Read some of the blogs I have bookmarked and decide which are my favourites so I can keep updated on those.  Unfortunately, you can read everything and I must come to terms with that.
  • Watch some of the videos that administrator Justin Tarte has added to his blog, Life as an Educator : Videos to Ignite Discussion.  This is the first set of a 5 part series that Justin has put together. The other parts of his series are linked here.
  • Look at some new tools posted at Thumann Resources.
  • Do some other book reading, including Fierce Conversations, A framework for Understanding Poverty, and possibly others.
  • And the list goes on.

The most important thing I’ve learned in the past week though, is that I need to rest.  Yes, rest!  Apparently, I am not immune to all the sickness going around my household.  The computer does not have a bubble around it to keep me from all the germs being passed around by my 3 kids and my husband.  I am now sick!  😦   I guess staying up until 1 am, night after night, is not a great idea when all of your family members have the plague.

In reflecting this afternoon, I realize that I am a Plunger.  Yes, a PLUNGER!  I was first introduced to this term by Adrienne Gear when I went to one of her first workshops about Reading Power about 7 years ago.  Adrienne sees people who implement her Reading Power program (or any program, really), as Toe-Dippers, Waders, or Plungers. I think there were a couple of other  terms in there as well, but I can not remember what they are right now.   The Toe-Dipper is someone is a little apprehensive about starting something new and will, instead of diving right in, checks the temperature with their toes and tries a few things out.  It is a slow process for the Toe-Dipper, but they are at least trying.   The Wader would be someone who is comfortable implementing parts of the program, but they are someone hesitant to stop doing some of the things they already do.  The Plunger is someone who just jumps in with both feet and starts swimming or treading water.

What kind of person are you?  A Toe-Dipper, a Wader, or a Plunger?

by andrewwhitmey

Yes, I am a Plunger!  As you have probably noticed here (or if you ar on Twitter), I don’t do anything half heartedly.  When something excites me, many times, but not always, I jump in with both feet and go for it!  While, there are benefits to this kind of way of exploring  things which are new, there are also disadvantages.  One of those disadvantages for me right now, is not getting enough sleep and now getting sick!  Blech!  I dislike being sick greatly!  Plus, it’s much more difficult being sick when you have a husband and 3 children (including a 6-month-old baby).

Another disadvantage of being a Plunger is that, sometimes, Plungers can be overwhelming to some people (especially to the Toe-Dippers). Plungers are often very excited about what they are trying/implementing/exploring.  This excitement makes it difficult for Plungers to contain themselves and slow down.  This excitement can be somewhat overwhelming to those around the Plungers.  Some people just don’t understand Plungers and why they work the way they do.  They don’t ‘get’ Plungers and are often afraid that the Plungers are going to expect the same response to new programs/tools/books, etc… from them and this freaks them out!

I am not that kind of Plunger.  I have learned from my time as a Vice-Principal that people work in different ways. Some people are much more comfortable with change and trying new things.  Some  people, however, are not like this. They find change to be very difficult and, therefore, often resist change.  Ottawa Vice-Principal, Erin Paynter, blogger of Erhead, wrote about this in her blog yesterday.  She was reflecting on the book Instructional Rounds in Education and writes that the teachers who resist change often

“feel that how they teach reflects who they are as a teacher, therefore as a person, and if there is an expectation that teaching practices should change then essentially they are being asked to change as a person.  No wonder they’re resistant.”

You can see Erin’s entire blog posted in her blog.  This really resonated with me because I’d never thought of these teachers in this way.  Makes sense.  So, while this makes sense that these teachers take change personally in this way, what does this mean for them, instructional leaders, and their supervisors?   I think I’ve got another  book to add to my list so I can see what this author says!  Thanks, Erin!

While it would be unfair to expect everyone to be Plungers, it would be great if more people were at least Toe-Dippers and at least try some new things out there: whether that is a different kind of food, going to a new destination, or implementing a  new instructional strategy.

We, as educational leaders must find a way to make this happen.  Yes, it is a challenge, that’s for sure.  But, it is a necessary challenge that we must explore.  The answers will likely be different for each person we work with though, so we need to be patient and open-minded in ways we can support.

Okay, now it is time for me to rest and get better.

Wish me luck!

About Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am a Principal of an elementary school Langley, BC. Lastly, I am a person who loves photography. I gain so much enjoyment and satisfaction taking photos. I have learned a great deal about photography since I purchased my first dSLR in 2008. There is so much more to learn though! All three of these things help to describe who I am as a person, but also demonstrate my love of learning - nothing is ever stagnant with any of these. I love to learn!
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Instructional Leadership, Leading the Learning, Lessons Learned and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to I Am a Plunger

  1. Iram Khan says:

    Tia, all these technological “opportunites” that you listed make my brain hurt. I don’t know how you do it you plunger!

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Yah, I know…. They’ve also made me sick! tee hee Need to get more sleep.
      It is fun though! It’s nice to get my brain working after this much time off! Oh, I was going to mention that in that post. Hmmmmmm…. May have to go back to edit.

  2. Bren says:

    I’m a plunger too and I realize that sometimes my enthusiasm can suck the energy out of other people in the room. Glad to see that there are others like me who jump into the deep end right away and figure out how to swim as we go 🙂

  3. Erin Paynter says:

    Hi Tia. Thanks for the mention in the post. I’ve enjoyed our connections and look forward to more learning with you – one plunger to another!

  4. cevon says:

    I never thought of it that way, well put!

  5. I enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks for posting such awesome material.

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I am glad you are finding what I have included in my blog as useful!
      If you have any suggestions of anything you’d like to see here, just let me know. 🙂

  6. Finally a smart blogger-man…I love how you’re thinking…and writing!

  7. matt laclear seo says:

    I never thought of it that way, well put!

  8. matt laclear {scam|scammer|ripoff} says:

    Thank you for a great post.

  9. Pingback: Admin Blog Reader Bundle and Other Reflections | It's All About Learning

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